The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama


The Common Good was proud to host a lunch and discussion with Gwen Ifill, author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill was introduced by Susan Fales-Hill, an award winning writer and television producer, and the program was convened by Gail Sheehy, a cultural observer and bestselling author whose landmark work.


In The Breakthrough, veteran journalist Gwen Ifill surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential victory and introducing the emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.

Ifill argues that the Black political structure formed during the Civil Rights movement is giving way to a generation of men and women who are the direct beneficiaries of the struggles of the 1960’s. She offers incisive, detailed profiles of such prominent leaders as Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and U.S. Congressman Artur Davis of Alabama (all interviewed for this book), and also covers numerous up-and-coming figures from across the nation. Drawing on exclusive interviews with power brokers such as President Obama, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Vernon Jordan, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, his son Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., and many others, as well as her own razor-sharp observations and analysis of such issues as generational conflict, the race/ gender clash, and the "black enough" conundrum, Ifill shows why this is a pivotal moment in American history.


Gwen Ifill was a moderator and managing editor of Washington Week and senior correspondent for the PBS NewsHour.  She was also the best-selling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill reported on a wide range of issues from foreign affairs to U.S. politics and policies interviewing national and international news-makers. She covered six Presidential campaigns and moderated two vice presidential debates. Ifill has received more than 20 honorary doctorates and served on the boards of the News Literacy Project, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and she is a fellow with the American Academy of Sciences.


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